Hives are the work of the devil

Seriously. I had hives once, when I was 5 years old. I don’t remember it, thankfully. It was when we discovered I was allergic to penicillin. 

This recent medical mystery started on a Sunday morning. I woke up with a little stomach ache. I ate my usual oatmeal, then started getting nauseated. 

By 10 a.m., I thought I was going to pass out. Tunnel vision, sweaty and cold. My husband took me to the ER and they diagnosed me with gastritis, where the lining of the stomach is inflamed. I thought I was having a gallbladder attack. I’m still not convinced on the gastritis.

They gave me some meds and sent me home. A few hours later, I started having stabbing pains in my upper back. Definitely gallbladder, right? A heating pad stopped the pains, but then the hives came. Those terrible, awful, miserable hives!!

They started on the back of my neck. By morning they were all over my chest, shoulders, neck and forehead. Soon they were on my arms. I saw my doctor that afternoon and he prescribed me a steroid. 

But the itching didn’t stop. I was back in the ER Tuesday evening because the hives kept spreading and the itching was unbearable! This time I got Zantac to stop the itching, a shot of epinephrine, and another pill for itching. I was feeling gooood by the time we left! Epinephrine is something else! I’m pretty sure I could have lifted a truck. 

In the morning, the hives were back. 

I googled hives remedies. What worked best for me was to make a baking soda paste and slather it on. Really. I looked ridiculous, but I didn’t care. I dumped some baking soda in a bowl, added water, mixed it with my fingers and put it on every hive I could see. I’ll forewarn you – it makes a mess. Everywhere you go, you leave a dusty, white trail. There will be drops of white on the counter and floor where you apply it. But if you’re suffering with hives, you won’t care.

Tepid baths are also great. They are not enjoyable. I was shivering the whole time. But they make the itching stop! I never did the oatmeal bath, even though many people said it helps. 

And ice packs. Or just a bag of frozen veggies wrapped in a thin cloth. Anything that’s cold helps! Heat makes hives worse.

By Thursday evening, they seemed to have gone away. I woke up hive-free Friday morning! If I never have hives again, it will be too soon. 

We still don’t really know what caused my hives. At first we thought an allergic reaction to a medicine from the ER. Then we thought stress, or maybe it was just a virus that had to run its course. 

As my two-year-old said, “Mommy, I’m so glad you don’t have owwies on your face anymore.” Me too, kiddo, me too. 


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